The authors wish to thank Robert Kok, Kyriakos Kyriakopoulos, Jurriaan Nijholt, Edwin Nijssen, Jaideep Prabhu, Jagdip Singh, and Theo Verhallen for valuable comments on earlier versions of this paper. They gratefully acknowledge the assistance of John Bogmans in transcribing the interviews.
Integrating Multiple Stakeholder Issues in New Product Development: An Exploration†
Version of Record online: 25 OCT 2012
© 2012 Product Development & Management Association
Journal of Product Innovation Management
Volume 30, Issue 2, pages 364–379, March 2013
How to Cite
Driessen, P. H. and Hillebrand, B. (2013), Integrating Multiple Stakeholder Issues in New Product Development: An Exploration. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 30: 364–379. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-5885.2012.01004.x
- Issue online: 6 FEB 2013
- Version of Record online: 25 OCT 2012
Addressing the interests of a wide set of stakeholders is important because it may have positive effects on financial performance. At the same time, however, it is also very complex because managers may face conflicting stakeholder issues, much more so than organizations that listen to only one stakeholder. Little is known about how multiple stakeholder issues are dealt with in the context of new product development (NPD). The objective of this study is to delineate the elements of stakeholder integration in the context of NPD. A combination of insights from stakeholder theory and market information processing serves as a theoretical perspective to guide the empirical exploration in this study. The authors take the development of green (ecological) products as an empirical context for their qualitative multiple case study. Specifically, they selected four case studies with different expected levels of stakeholder integration, based on literature about green NPD. Data were collected through in-depth interviews with key informants, collecting documents, and obtaining artifacts. In total, 28 informants from various domains were interviewed. Transcribed interviews were coded using qualitative analysis software. The results show that a distinction needs to be made between market and nonmarket stakeholders, and that not all organizations are equally capable of identifying issues that are important to both categories of stakeholders. Organizations that identify issues that are relevant to both market stakeholders and nonmarket stakeholders are more likely to face tensions between stakeholder issues in NPD. Organizations manage these tensions using several, sometimes redundant, coordination mechanisms and using multiple prioritization principles in conjunction. Based on the results, the authors conceptualize stakeholder integration capability in an NPD context as the combination of stakeholder issue identification techniques, coordination mechanisms, and prioritization principles. They propose that stakeholder integration capability is the result of a learning process. Moreover, they propose that proactivity of environmental management and environmental impact of the industry help to explain why stakeholder issue identification techniques are developed, and that the identification of more stakeholder issues leads organizations to develop coordination mechanisms and prioritization principles. Finally, the authors propose that stakeholder integration capability leads to competitive advantage through organizational identification by stakeholders. The study implies that integrating multiple stakeholder issues is not just a matter of feeding additional information into NPD processes, but of changing the nature of these NPD processes.